Monday, April 07, 2008

Torching Tibet

Today the Olympic torch comes through Paris, basically right where I'm currently living. Therefore, I am on the other side of the city. Part of it is that I don't really feel like braving the crowds to see some guy with a torch from a kilometer away. The streets are already clogged with hot dog trucks, and tourists, and men selling balloon animals. Besides, I'm morally opposed to selling balloon animals- do you have any idea how many balloon animals are slaughtered every year and used to make condoms?

Also, let's be blunt here- fuck the Chinese government. It's not like they haven't had several years to improve their human rights record and it's not like hosting the olympics, which has also been in the works for some time, didn't give them the incentive to do so. I'm not even sure what advantage there is for them to hold onto their quasi-colony in Tibet at this point. I've been thinking this about the quasi-colony we have in Iraq, and all of the colonies throughout history. What's the point? What's the advantage? It must be some sort of prestige issue because they really don't pass any sort of cost-benefit analysis.


Holly said...

Yeah, I was just thinking this morning that what China needs is a grotesque disaster. I don't say that out of any malice toward the poor bastards who'd suffer/die from it, but because the only way I see any real redemption for the Chinese government, and hence, the Chinese people, is the scale of catastrophe where they become utterly dependent on the support and mercy of everyone else for a while.

The neverending lies really need to stop. Seriously. It not helping anyone.

Hiromi said...

Yeah, I was just thinking this morning that what China needs is a grotesque disaster.

Disasters happen in China all the time. Remember the huge benzene spill of 2005? That is but one example; river pollution, even in their grain-growing regions, is pretty horrible.

There is also a very large, growing gap between the rural poor and the urban middle class. That may seriously destabilize their society in years to come.

I agree with the sentiment "Fuck the Chinese government, however." But one thing about China intrigues me -- it's possibility as a source of U.S. counterhegemony. Too bad it's of the evil variety.

Holly said...

Hiromi - Probably I wasn't clear on the scale of catastrophe I was thinking of. I know there's plenty of disaster there, and the fact that I know there's disaster there means the limits of the governments spin control are being tested a little. The thing with the dam, the thing with the so-called recycling/reclamation of electronics, there have been terrible weather problems, and if I recall correctly, so many farmers have switched from grains to short season, short storage life, higher profit margin vegetable crops, that they're looking at a serious calorie deficit in the near future. And not even the kind like India has, where there is a load of grain that just isn't being distributed.

I meant, the government would have to be so out of control that they'd have to accept external override, and/or not have a choice at all. Of course, by the time it got to that point, it'd surely be too late to actually do much good.

Probably what happened is, I watched that weather disaster movie last week, and my mind decided that could really help people get their shit right. Not just the Chinese, lots of us on this planet have our shit fucked up. Whatzit called.... oh right. The Day After Tomorrow.

Terrible film.

Rufus said...

Hiromi: It's an interesting idea. You're right though- so far, the Chinese government seems to be aiming to be worse than the US. If you ever get the chance, watch the documentary Manufactured Landscapes. It's just terrifying what they're doing to the environment there. Now that the euro is stronger than the dollar and the EU's agricultural exports have surpassed the US, I'm wondering if the EU is ever going to get it into their heads that they could be a legitimate counter-example in the future. Of course, I'd also love to see Canada realize that.

Holly: I figured that was probably a bad film. It is amazing the level of delusion that's going on there. The French news will show these clips from the Chinese news and it's just amazing how much bullshit it is. (Of course, we've been "winning" in Iraq for how many years now?)